TO QUIT OS NOT TO QUIT 251
against their own interests. It would not be the first time in
British history when the Smiths had done what they felt to be
the right thing in the full knowledge that it was going to hurt
them. The abolition, of the highly profitable slave trade was a case
in point. However, the Smiths have not made up their minds on
this question, they have merely given an exhibition of amiable
and apathetic ignorance. And so we cannot hand them any moral
bouquets on this occasion ; they have done nothing to earn them.
I am not so presumptuous as to imagine that this book can make
up the iniixds of any very large number of Mr. and Mrs. Smiths,
but since a personal opinion does help to clarify the issues, if it is
sufficiently clear-cut, I will give my own answers to the question.
Should we quit ?
On moral grounds the answer musk be an emphatic 6ycs/ If
ihe Altantic Charter means anything, if the whole war means
anything, the answer must be ' yes.5
And equally on moral grounds, the 6yes * must be conditional on
the recognition of the equal sovereignty and independence of the
ftwo great Indian nations — the Muslims and the Hindus.
The 'yes ' is a farce and a fraud if it is not accompanied by this
condition. We should be giving freedom with one hand and
taking it away with the other. We should be letting 250 million
Hindus out of what they are pleased to regard as gaol in the
morning and shutting up 100 million Muslims in what they are
quite certain is gaol in the afternoon.
We need not labour this point ; it was made clear enough in the
chapter on Pakistan. But it is quite vital that the intellectuals, the
leaders of public opinion, and iix particular the younger members
of the labour party, should study the facts, instead of echoing the
parrot-cries of Congress propaganda, and face the real issue,
which is summed up in the phrase c Divide and Quit/ There can
be only two reasons for opposing that policy. The first is ignor-
ance, the second is a denial of the principal of self-determination.
So much for the moral side of it. Now for the physical.
Can we quit ?
Of course we can. But only a wildly irresponsible person would